Grammys 2021: Beyoncé leads with 9 nominations; Taylor Swift, Dua Lipa and Roddy Ricch have 6 each
The 63rd annual edition of the music industry’s most prestigious annual awards show will be the first to be held during the coronavirus pandemic
Will Beyoncé become the belated queen of the Grammy Awards with her field-leading nine new nominations? Or will Queen Bey, as the vocal superstar is fondly called by many of her fans, leave largely empty-handed — as in 2017, when her then-field-leading nine nominations resulted in just two wins in minor categories?
Those are just a few of the intriguing questions raised by Tuesday’s announcement of the 2021 Grammy nominations. After Beyoncé, the three top contenders — with six nominations each — are Taylor Swift, English dance-pop singer Dua Lipa and rapper Roddy Ricch. Alabama Shakes’ singer Brittany Howard received five nominations for her genre-blurring 2019 solo debut album, “Jaime.”
Swift’s six nominations include Album of the Year (for “folklore”) and Song of the Year (for “Cardigan”), while Ricch’s six nominations include Song of the Year (for “The Box”) and Record of the Year (for “Rockstar,” his duet with fellow hip-hop senstaion Da Baby).
The other artist to garner six nominations is London-born Lipa, who has won two previous Grammys. The daughter of Albanian immigrant parents, she is apparently the first internationally successful singer to grow up in both England and Kosovo. Lipa, 25, is nominated for Album of the Year (for “Future Nostalgia”) and Song of the Year and Record of the Year (both for “Don’t Start Now,” whose refrain — “Don’t show up / Don’t come out” — has become a popular quarantine meme during the coronavirus pandemic).
No fewer than seven artists earned four nominations each on Tuesday. They include: Justin Bieber; rappers Da Baby and Megan Thee Stallion; Los Angeles troubadour Phoebe Bridgers; jazz keyboardist and big-band leader John Beasley; classical-music album producer David Frost; and angst-fueled singer and songwriter Billie Eilish, who in January swept the 62nd annual Grammy Awards (at the age of 18) by winning Best New Artist and Album, Record and Song of the Year honors.
Mickey Guyton was nominated in the Best Country Solo Performance category for her stirring ballad, “Black Like Me.” She is the first Black female solo artist in Grammy history to be nominated in a country category.
The newly announced nominees for Best New Artist and Album, Record and Song of the Year appear at the conclusion of this article. For a complete list of contenders in all 83 categories, including those in which San Diego-bred artists Anoushka Shankar, Gregory Porter and Alison Brown are nominated, go to grammy.com.
Two of the three former San Diego musicians are past Grammy winners
The winners in the most high-profile categories will be announced during the 63rd annual edition of the Grammys, which will be televised Jan. 31 on CBS. The other winners will be announced during the pre-televised online Grammy Premier ceremony.
South African-born comedian Trevor Noah will host the Grammy telecast for the first time. “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah” star replaces singer-songwriter (and La Jolla resident) Alicia Keys, who ably helmed the 2020 and 2019 editions of what has long been billed as “music’s biggest night.”
“Despite the fact that I am extremely disappointed that the Grammys have refused to have me sing or be nominated for Best Pop Album, I am thrilled to be hosting this auspicious event,” Noah said in a statement released Tuesday morning.
“I think as a one-time Grammy nominee, I am the best person to provide a shoulder to all the amazing artists who do not win on the night because I, too, know the pain of not winning the award! (This is a metaphorical shoulder, I’m not trying to catch Corona). See you at the 63rd Grammys!”
The Grammys are presented under the auspices of the nonprofit Recording Academy, which this year has raised nearly $20 million through its MusiCares COVID-19 Relief Fund for music industry professionals in need.
“This has been a tough year for our industry, but I have witnessed, day after day, the incredible resiliency of the music community,” said Harvey Mason Jr., the academy’s interim president and CEO.
“This year’s nominated recordings are proof that the creative spirit continues to be alive and well,” he continued, “and our nominees are a testament to the passion and perseverance that our community embodies. ... I truly believe in the power of music, and the 63rd Grammys will be an opportunity to help us unite, uplift and inspire.”
Beyoncé poised to set record
The nine categories in which Beyoncé will be vying this time around include Song of the Year for “Black Parade,” her joyful celebration of Black American culture that was featured on the soundtrack to her hit 2019 movie “The Lion King.” She also earned two nominations in the Record of the Year category, one for “Black Parade,” the other for her guest vocal performance on Megan Thee Stallion’s “Savage.” The two also shared Best Rap Song and Best Rap Performance nominations for “Savage,” marking the first time Beyoncé has been nominated in either category.
With her latest nominations, the 39-year-old Beyoncé now has 79 total career nominations. That ties her with 78-year-old Paul McCartney as the second most-nominated Grammy artist ever. With four more wins, she will surpass bluegrass queen Alison Krauss, a 27-time victor, as the biggest female winner in Grammy history.
To date, Beyoncé, has won 24 Grammys as a solo artist and a member of the group Destiny’s Child. Her husband, hip-hop luminary Jay Z — who received three nominations today — and Quincy Jones are now tied for first with 80 career nominations apiece.
Beyoncé's most recent album, the soundtrack for the animated film “The Lion King: The Gift,” came out in July 2019 and was nominated — but lost to Billie Eilish — in January. That makes Beyoncé ineligible in this year’s Album of the Year category, where Taylor Swift’s “folklore” could take the prize. The other nominees include: Coldplay (for “Everyday Life”); Post Malone for “Hollywood’s Bleeding,” Dua Lipa (for “Future Nostalgia”); Haim (for “Women in Music Pt. III”); Jhené Aiko for “Chilombo”; Jacob Collier for (“Djesse Vol. 3"); and the Austin soul-funk group Black Pumas (for “Black Pumas, Deluxe Edition.”)
Conspicuously absent in this category are the acclaimed latest albums by Bob Dylan, Fiona Apple, Luke Combs, Lady Gaga, The Chicks (as the Dixie Chicks are now known), Phoebe Bridgers, Run The Jewels and upcoming 2021 Super Bowl halftime show performer The Weeknd. All were released during the Sept. 1, 2019, to Aug. 31, 2020, eligibility period.
A record 23,207 recordings were submitted for nomination consideration this year. Ballots will be cast by the Recording Academy’s 11,000-plus voting members.
The Grammys are usually held at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, while the Premier ceremony takes place at the adjacent Microsoft Theater. However, the location for the Jan. 31 edition — the first in Grammys history to take place during a global pandemic — remains unclear. On Monday, a representative for the awards fete told the Union-Tribune via email: “At this time, we are not able to confirm the location of the 63rd telecast.”
The pandemic is being cited as the reason for a one-year delay in selecting and announcing the nominees for Best Immersive Audio Album, which would have been the 84th category in this year’s Grammy field.
A statement released Tuesday by the Recording Academy, under whose auspices the Grammys are presented, reads: “Due the COVID-19 pandemic, the Best Immersive Audio Album Craft Committee was unable to meet. The judging of the entries in this category has been postponed until such time that we are able to meet in a way that is appropriate to judge the many formats and configurations of the entries and is safe for the committee members. The nominations (n this category) will be announced next year in addition to (and separately from) the 64th Grammy nominations in the category.”
2020 Grammy nominees
Album of the Year
“Chilombo” — Jhené Aiko
“Black Pumas (Deluxe Edition)” — Black Pumas
“Everyday Life” — Coldplay
“Djesse Vol. 3” — Jacob Collier
“Women in Music Pt. III” — Haim
“Future Nostalgia” — Dua Lipa
“Hollywood’s Bleeding” — Post Malone
“folklore” — Taylor Swift
Record Of The Year
“Black Parade” — Beyoncé
“Colors” — Black Pumas
“Rockstar” — DaBaby Featuring Roddy Ricch
“Say So” — Doja Cat
“Everything I Wanted” — Billie Eilish
“Don’t Start Now” — Dua Lipa
“Circles” — Post Malone
“Savage” — Megan Thee Stallion, featuring Beyoncé
Song of the Year
(This category honors the writers of the nominated songs; the performer is listed parenthetically)
“Black Parade” — Denisia Andrews, Beyoncé, Stephen Bray, Shawn Carter, Brittany Coney, Derek James Dixie, Akil King, Kim “Kaydence” Krysiuk & Rickie “Caso” Tice, songwriters (Beyoncé)
“The Box” — Samuel Gloade & Rodrick Moore, songwriters (Roddy Ricch)
“Cardigan” — Aaron Dessner & Taylor Swift, songwriters (Taylor Swift)
“Circles” — Louis Bell, Adam Feeney, Kaan Gunesberk, Austin Post & Billy Walsh, songwriters (Post Malone)
“Don’t Start Now” — Caroline Ailin, Ian Kirkpatrick, Dua Lipa & Emily Warren, songwriters (Dua Lipa)
“Everything I Wanted” — Billie Eilish O’Connell & Finneas O’Connell, songwriters (Billie Eilish)
“I Can’t Breathe” — Dernst Emile II, H.E.R. & Tiara Thomas, songwriters (H.E.R.)
“If The World Was Ending” — Julia Michaels & JP Saxe, songwriters (JP Saxe, featuring Julia Michaels)
Best New Artist
Megan Thee Stallion
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